A group of climate activists gathered and protest against the World Bank climate loan under the Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Development (GRID) initiative. The protest programme took place on September 01 at Maitighar Mandala, Kathmandu.
Just two days earlier Government of Nepal and the World Bank (WB) signed a controversial concessional financing agreement for US $100 million (equivalent to NRs 12.7 billion) for the GRID initiative. The budgetary support aims to create an enabling environment in Nepal toward a green, climate-resilient, and inclusive development. The agreement also aims at supporting priority policy actions in the areas of water, land use, climate-smart agriculture, sustainable forest management, urban waste and pollution control.
Experts and youth activists are apprehensive that the multilateral financial institution is imposing loans for climate resilient and adaptation purposes, for which Nepal is entitled to receive grants rather than loan. They have maintained that Nepal is rightfully entitled to receive grants to fight against the impacts of climate change since it has negligible contribution to the global climate crisis.
Protesters argue that the World Bank is working against climate justice. Nepal should avoid climate change loans from any donor agency as it only adds debt burden to Nepali citizens who are already hard hit by the impacts of climate changes.
They also say that the loan has climate components that deserved financial assistance in the form of grants, not loans. As such, the government needs to maintain caution while taking loans in the name of climate.
The activists have plans to continue their protest until the decision to take climate loans is withdrawn. They have claimed that the new loan will add an additional NRs 4000 debt to each Nepali national.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the loan will not be implemented in programmes related to forestry, environment and climate change because Nepal isn’t responsible for global climate change.
Funds from the loan will only be used to implement the GRID approach, through a policy and institutional development approach, officials at the Ministry of Finance said.